Ahhhhh, the magic of travel. We spend months dreaming and planning and when our dream vacation finally arrives, it’s over in the blink of an eye. So what if I told you that you could make those memories last by learning to linger?
There are so many different ways to travel today. You could let it all go and head to an all-inclusive resort where you can sit by the pool and indulge in tropical drinks without a care in the world. You could book a tour and travel from city to city and knock out all of Europe in a little more than two weeks. Or you could get the best of both worlds by slowing down as you linger from place to place.
There’s no right or wrong way to travel. For my husband, Jeremiah, and I, we prefer to linger. As we’ve traveled together over the last decade and a half, we’ve realized that we’d rather get to know one area really well rather than just a glimpse of everything. We found that slowing down to linger has made our travel more memorable and enjoyable. Learning to see travel as an experience rather than a checklist has changed us in wonderfully unexpected ways.
Long before airplanes and cruise ships, travel was an epic journey. Today, however, travel agents sell packages that can take you through three countries in 10 days. While I appreciate the conveniences of modern travel and the ability to fly halfway around the world in half a day, I don’t want my trip to pass by at warp speed.
When visiting a new place, it’s tempting to try and see as much as possible. But when you are in the midst of it, you start to feel like you’re just checking things off your list. At the end of your trip, you probably feel like you desperately need a vacation.
Lingering allows you to slow down and get to know the heart of the place you’re visiting. It allows you to experience the real people and culture instead of what’s marketed to tourists. When you linger, the destination will become a part of you and you’ll carry it with you wherever you go for the rest of your life.
Here are some ways learning to linger could transform your life:
- Experience real life and grow a more well-rounded view of the world.
- Inspire creative thinking and problem-solving.
nderstanddifferent cultures and languages.
- Expand your self-awareness.
- Create empathy by learning to see everyday situations from a different perspective.
- Improve confidence and self-worth.
- Uncover your inner courage muscle by confronting fear and stepping out of your comfort zone.
- Deepen your relationship with your spouse or travel partner.
- Slow down and find balance.
- Live with joy and gratitude.
How we lingered on a popular Hawaiian day trip.
If you’ve been to the island of Maui, you’ve probably driven the road to Hana. Most visitors to Hana get up before dawn to drive the three-hour, 75-mile one-way trip. Along the way, they breeze through as many stops as possible to snap a selfie and get back on the road so they can return before dark.
Realizing we only had 11 hours of daylight and over six hours of drive time, we questioned whether it was even worth it. If we added in lunch and bathroom breaks, we’d only have three hours to see the sights. So I dug a little deeper and decided to extend this popular day trip from one day to three.
Rather than staying in one place on Maui, we split our time between condos on both the western and eastern side of the island. This allowed us to start and end our travel at a reasonable hour so we could enjoy the drive during daylight. We loved the lighter traffic that came with not following the crowd. We enjoyed long hikes without feeling rushed, relaxed on the beach, and even stopped for happy hour. We got to soak in the true feeling of Hana instead of rushing through.
Here are some tips to help you linger.
- Leave at least one day per week open with no plans.
- Experiment with a fluid itinerary. Make a list of everything you would like to see, but don’t schedule it until the night before. I like to break my list into two categories: must see and would be nice to see.
- Plan one extra night per location. Figure out how long it will take to visit all of your must-see stops and tack on one more night. I typically stick to a minimum of three nights per location.
- Take longer trips and extend a week to 10 days or 10 days to two weeks.
- Maximize weekends and holidays. Leave on Friday night and return on a Sunday night. Plan trips around holidays, especially Labor Day when most people are back to work and school.
- Make travel days painless by taking off and arriving at reasonable times. Don’t try to squeeze in too much travel per day.
- Book vacation rentals in lieu of hotels and resorts.
- Do your research ahead of time so you’re not wasting precious vacation time trying to figure it out.
- Stay mindful of your budget. Lingering and low cost often go hand in hand.
- Pack less for maximum flexibility and fun.
Once you learn to linger, don’t stop with travel. Learning to linger in our everyday lives can create clarity, reduce stress, improve health, and boost creativity. Allowing time to linger will help you transform from a human doing to a human being. So why not set aside some time to stop and linger today?